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Ronald Isley Released From Jail, Taps Lauryn Hill and T.I. for New Album

Legendary R&B singer, Ronald Isley, was released from jail this month after completing a three-year and one month sentence for tax evasion.

The 68-year-old singer begin his sentence in 2007, after a September 2006 trial found him guilty on five counts of tax evasion and one count of willful failure to file a tax return. Although Isley’s lawyers pleaded for a reduced sentence because of his poor health — resulting from a stroke and battle with kidney cancer — the judge denied the request, concluding that Isley was a “serial tax avoider.” During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence confirming that after Isley declared bankruptcy in 1997, he still failed to pay taxes from 1997-2002, racking up over $3 million in debt to the government.

Now, fresh off his jail sentence, The Isley Brothers front man says that he already has plans in motion for two new projects. Isley told Los Angeles radio personality, Steve Harvey, that he will release a new gospel album inspired by his time spent working in the jail house chapel. “I was working at the chapel and I did gospel shows every week and that kept me up,” he said. “I [was] talking to young people and crying with them. And people that were gonna be in there some years and that part really hurts. They [inmates] looked up to me.”

Isley also announced plans to debut a new album for Def Jam Records. “I’m working on another album and this album is going to mean so much. I’ve been thinking about it for three years and wondering what it was going to be like and what it was going to be like to sing certain songs…And now I’ve got the chance to do that,” he said. According to Isley, fans should expect a great lineup of collaborations on the upcoming album. “Some of the people that I’m working with on this album will be Lauryn Hill, T.I., Rick Ross and Burt Bacharach,” he said.

Isley’s most recent albums include his 2003 collaboration with Burt Bacharach ‘Here I Am,’ followed by The Isley Brother’s ‘Baby Makin’ Music’ in 2006. His first post-incarceration performance will be on May 8, when he takes the stage for a concert in Atlantic City.

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